Disaster Grips France in Burger King’s ‘Whopper Blackout’ Gag

Chain revisits dark years of its history

Not many people know that Burger King pulled out of France for 15 years between 1997 and 2012. But actually, it's true. And the fast-food chain comically revisits that nightmare scenario in a new seven-minute mockumentary from agency Buzzman.

Whopper addicts lose their minds, black-market dealers, counterfeiters and smugglers capitalize, and law enforcement officials enter into a game of Whac-a-Mole against illicit trade in a video that manages to cram in every genre trope imaginable.

Overall, it's willfully idiotic and melodramatic, pushed to the degree where it's at least forgivable on the grounds of being goofy, if not always necessarily funny. But in the ad's most shining moment, a man brags about hoarding burgers in a padlocked and heavily surveilled basement freezer for 10 years, rationing the precious sandwiches.

To be fair, the absurdist concept exceeds the mixed execution, which could be seen at moments as trivializing coverage, such as it is, of more serious topics—or substance abuse epidemics more broadly. Before anyone bristles too much, though, it's worth remembering that fast-food burgers probably aren't much better for you than some narcotics.

Plus, it's worth mentioning the war on drugs has been largely futile—even without the possibility, which seems more reasonable here, that the illicit substances in question could literally sprout legs and scurry away when the cops come knocking.


Client: Burger King

Marketing Director: Béatrice Roux

Marketing Project Managers: Bérénice Charles, Marine Dupas

Agency: Buzzman

President and Executive Creative Director: Georges Mohammed-Chérif

Vice – President: Thomas Granger

Associate Director: Julien Levilain

Copywriting and Artistic Direction: Romain Pergeaux

Artistic Director Assistants: Yohan Benazzouz, Gabriel Palut, François Laboué

Account Managers: Pierre Guengant, Loïc Coelho, Clémence Gateau

Social Media Managers: Julien Scaglione, Loris Bernardini, Marie le Scao

Communication and P.R. Managers: Amélie Juillet, Clara Bascoul-Gauthier

TV Production and Art Buying: Vanessa Barbel, Katya Violi, Benoit Crouet

Producer:Rudy Tasimovicz

Production Manager: Gilles Vatinet

Production: Why Us

Post Production: Nightshift

Music and Sound Design:Schmooze

Director:Simon Levene

Media Agency: MEC

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.